TODAY’S READING: EZEKIEL 12-16
Ezekiel’s actions typify the exile (chapter twelve); God warns the false prophets (chapter thirteen); God warns Israel that judgment is inevitable (chapters fourteen and fifteen); God reminds Israel of His grace in saving them and their decision to forsake Him (chapter sixteen).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
God continually asks Ezekiel to picture His truth about the exile through his actions. Leaving with his “stuff” through the wall (12:1-16) typifies the captivity of Israel’s current king, Zedekiah (II Kings 25:1-10). Ezekiel’s trembling (12:17-20) illustrates the desolation that Israel will experience during the exile. God wants Ezekiel to speak through his actions as well as his words. What a lesson for the Christian to learn. Do our actions speak truth as much as our speech? Do our actions compliment the message we are proclaiming? Ezekiel’s message was one of eminent judgment. Our message is Christ. Does our life demonstrate Christ?
Even though Ezekiel warns Israel, there are those who still believe that God is not serious. Ezekiel’s audience has adopted a proverb (12:22) that says (paraphrase), “With the passing of time every warning of Ezekiel is proven false.” God has enough of this attitude and tells Ezekiel to give Israel a new proverb . . . “The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.” God is saying, “Judgment starts now!” Man lives believing that there will never be consequences for his sin. However, sin eventually has a payday. It has been said that sin takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you want to pay. Do not confuse God’s longsuffering with apathy towards sin.
The prophets who foretell peace and safety (Ezekiel 13, 14:9) are further demonstrating Israel’s arrogance. What a foreshadowing of the Anti-Christ, who will come to power at the beginning of the tribulation by proclaiming peace, when in truth it is God’s vengeance and wrath that will be unleashed on the earth (Daniel 8:25). Just as God’s judgment was inevitable during the ministry of Ezekiel, so His judgment will be inevitable during the coming tribulation.
Chapter sixteen serves as one of the most brutally descriptive images of our original sin condition and God’s grace. This chapter is so clear and indicting that some of the ancient rabbis did not allow it to be read in public.
God likens Israel to an abandoned child (16:4-5), born of a wrong family (16:3), left for dead in a field. God sees Israel lying in her own blood. God says, “Live.” (16:6). God then blesses Israel with beauty (holiness), clothing (righteousness), and jewels/crown (rewards). He anoints Israel with oil (type of the Holy Spirit) and makes her His bride (16:7-14). But Israel prostitutes herself to other nations and other gods. She commits adultery over and over again (16:15-59).
Ezekiel 16:60 contains one of the most powerful words in the entire Bible — “Nevertheless.” Despite Israel’s broken promises, God still remembers His covenant, and promises an everlasting covenant. What a beautiful, yet solemn picture, of the reality of our life. It is not because of our goodness or obedience that God keeps His word to us. It is because of God’s grace. We continually forsake our God . . . nevertheless.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As the BRIDEGROOM in chapter sixteen.